If it’s challenging you, testing you, and pushing you, it’s helping you become more of who you were meant to be.
~ Mandy Hale
The last quarter of this past academic year was a whirlwind of musical activity.
It started with an April performance of the For Now Chamber Players based at University of North Georgia, Gainesville. I played my toy piano along with two other toy pianists and a saxophonist in a number of contemporary compositions written just for us AND did my own personal rendition of John Cage’s 4′ 33″. That was arguably the longest four and a half minutes of my life. I don’t have any photos or videos from the concert but I do have this.
Also in April I played a concert with the Redeemer Piano Ensemble of Atlanta, celebrating 50 years under the baton of conductor Mary Hinely. That might have been the most fun I’ve ever had performing, solo or otherwise. Here’s to our next 50 years together!
April concluded with Gwinnett County Music Teachers Association’s Ensemble Extravaganza Concert, in which piano duet and trio teams competed for awards. I was the local chairperson for this event, which for obvious reasons is near and dear to my heart. Here is a photo of two of my own talented students performing their duet in the concert.
Over Mother’s Day weekend, I played both piano and clarinet (clearly not at the same time) with the Gwinnett Symphony Wind Orchestra under the baton of Dr. Thomas Wubbenhorst and was a featured pianist in what might have the first ever performance of Percy Grainger Children’s March using two pianos and a wind ensemble. I will post a link if I ever get the video edited.
In June, my piano students presented their annual spring recitals – three in all – performing solos, duets and concerti, and composer-pianist Cory Lavine made a special guest appearance at one of them.
After that, I was off to Dallas, Texas for the Texas Music Teachers Association at the Hyatt Regency Hotel
where I attended informative workshops with teachers from all over the country and had the privilege of presenting my own workshop Taking Care of the Teacher.
I took advantage of a photo op with our keynote speaker Ingrid Clarfield
and even managed to get out of the hotel my last afternoon in Texas for a bite of Tex-Mex
and a tour of the Sixth Floor Museum in Dealey Plaza, where I learned much about the life, death and legacy of Present John F. Kennedy.
Then I took the elevator to the top of Reunion Tower and sipped a glass of wine while watching the sunset.
Yes, the last quarter of my academic year was a busy one, with many long hours spent teaching, practicing, rehearsing, performing, and traveling. I look back on those three months with a great deal of pride and satisfaction. My students worked hard and made great strides on their individual musical journeys; I set myself some significant musical goals and I accomplished each and every one of them. None of it was easy but it was all worth it.
I have even bigger plans for the months ahead, including a spring concert with my new piano duo partner, future performances with the Redeemer Ensemble and the Gwinnett Symphony Wind Orchestra and the For Now Chamber Players, and continued work with the sixty or so piano students who visit my studio each week. My days are hectic and fulfilling, exhausting and exhilarating, challenging and ultimately rewarding beyond measure. I am living the dream that began in me when I was seven years old. And I don’t take a single moment of it for granted.